I've been putting off writing this particular post for a few weeks. 1: because I'm lazy and I know I won't be able to summarize it too well and it will be super long and depressing. 2: there were so many things I had to get done on my to-do list before everything was set. 3: the details were literally changing all the time so I felt silly saying one thing was happening and then the dr change it up and it not happen.
So, a couple weeks before spring break (end of February) I started gradually having some of the same signs and symptoms I had when I first got diagnosed with cancer in August. This was literally just weeks after I finished my 22 radiation treatments so I thought maybe it was just residual effects from that...but surely didn't want to think the obvious. I dealt with it for a couple weeks and it gradually got worse. There was really no point to tell anyone because I would just sound crazy and its not like anyone could do anything about it anyway. Not to mention I had JUST started my new job and the last thing I wanted was to start taking off to go to more dr appts. I waited till I was off during spring break, called my oncologist just to give him an update of what was happening and he literally sent me to get a CT scan the next day.
My week started off with the scan on Monday, dr called for me to come in the next day and said the scan showed my tumor was still active and I now have more nodes/masses showing on the other side of my chest. I already knew what she was going to say before I got there so it was no surprise to me. Since it was during spring break, my oncologist was on vacation the rest of the week and his PA got me in with him as soon as he was back Monday.
Here's where all the details got exhausting and frustrating. During this appointment he obviously couldn't 100% confirm it was cancer because you can't do that unless you biopsy the masses. Where mine are located can be a risky surgery so he really didn't want to put me through that and was pretty "convinced" that it was indeed a reoccurrence because I was literally having all the same symptoms etc, except more painful this time around. So we set up to start chemo again that following Monday. I let my school know what I found out so they could get a sub. I was under the understanding this chemo was only 2 weeks long so I could get a short term sub for two weeks then head back. Then the plans changed literally last minute and my oncologist wanted me to go see the chest cancer specialist to get his input before we started chemo. I then had to wait till the following week to get in with him.
Once at the specialist it ended up being agreed upon (begrudgingly by me) to be 100% the new nodes were in fact cancer by going into surgery and getting all spots biopsied he could get to. This is how I spent my good Friday. It wasn't fun. I ended up getting two incisions when I thought I was only getting one (that may have been selective hearing though). One incision was on my left side and they had to go thru my ribs throughout my chest. The other was under my left boob, an obvious guy dr move because they think it will be a great spot because it will be a hidden scar BUT not thinking that a) boobs sweat and how the heck am I going to keep that spot dry and b) that's exactly where my bra hits...ie either go braless or go no where. The side incision was closed with sutures I have to keep in for 3 weeks and the boob incision was thankfully closed with surgical glue.....however that works out.
I was super sore for a few days and my incisions look oh so sexy. I was told I would get my results probably Tuesday. When Tuesday rolled around and I hadn't heard anything I contacted the specialist who did the actual biopsy to see if my results were in. The nurse called me at the end of the day to tell me the final results hadn't been uploaded but she went into the hospital side and looked it up and it was indeed a reoccurrence.....ie positive results of cancer. I basically paid over $5,000 to be able to say "I told ya so". My oncologist office finally called at the end of the day Wednesday to tell me I was starting chemo Monday (for real this time) and everything was scheduled.
My first chemo round was called EPOCH. I will be doing a different regimen this time around called "RICE" which is typically used for reoccurrence patients. I will also be getting a stem cell transplant. So with that being said, it looks like I will yet again be having a super fun summer. I had to put in for catastrophic leave at work and am still waiting to hear if its approved. Yet again, the worst timing any of this could happen...but I guess you cant really plan if and when you get cancer.
Not sure how I will be able to pay for yet another round of cancer plus a transplant. I believe shirts are on the to do list and a garage sale....other than that I may start selling some appendages if anyone is interested...the non-cancerous ones of course.
Oh and I will yet again be losing my hair. Lots to look forward to.
On an unexpected Cancer journey...